Obviously you’re welcome to disagree with me, but I hate the 21st century idea that jews are white. I don’t think I’m white, and I’m going to detail why with a series of claims that have led me to my stance. Would appreciate your thoughts.
I will preface this by saying that nothing in this post is intended to be prejudiced or insult anybody, quite the opposite: it’s explaining why I find certain terms and misconceptions to be a blatant form of ignoring the history of prejudice against jewish people.
Claim A: Terms like “Black” and “White” don’t refer solely to shade of skin, but to ethnicity as well. This is a bit of a no-brainer when you think about it, but terms like ‘black’ and ‘white’ (for people), does not refer solely to skin color. If someone who is indian happens to have darker skin than someone who is black – nobody is going to refer to the indian person as a black person just because his skin is a darker shade. If someone comes from a minority family in the USA, but his skin happens to be juuuust pale enough that you can’t notice it, you’d say that he passes for white; you’re welcome to disagree with the previous sentence, but that’s the de facto and de jure situation when you look at historical examples of systematic prejudice. For example, in the United States of America during its periods of segregation, said person with pale skin but with an African American parent, would still be regarded in the law as black, and be subject all the racist laws that it entailed.. So the claim that being white requires simply being pale-skinned is false: society certainly hasn’t and sometimes still doesn’t work by such a definition. If you come from a minority ethnicity, and you’re viable for an affirmative-action scholarship as a result, nobody is going to take one look at you and say “No, you’re too pale for this scholarship, you’re white.” That’s because terms like White and Black aren’t just about skin color!
White and Black are therefore related to terms of ethnicity (which is for the most part a social construct, highly recommend reading the wikipedia page), dependent not just on skintone but also on things related to ethnicity, such as history, culture, society & social treatment, and ancestry.
Claim B – Defining the term White:
Having said that the term White does not refer solely to skin color, how do you actually define what is white?
Well, Wikipedia discusses this at length. I’ll copy over a few of the key bits and pieces, before forming the definition that I believe best encapsulates the term “White”.
White is a racialized classification of people and a skin color specifier, generally used for people of European origin; although the definition can vary depending on context, nationality, and point of view.
Contemporary anthropologists and other scientists, while recognizing the reality of biological variation between different human populations, regard the concept of a unified, distinguishable “white race” as socially constructed. As a group with several different potential boundaries, it is an example of a fuzzy concept.
The term “white race” or “white people” entered the major European languages in the later 17th century, in the context of racialized slavery and unequal social status in the European colonies.
Following these three passages, for the duration of this post, we’ll tentatively define the term ‘White’ as a term generally attributed to people who, in addition to having pale skin, are of European origin and have, as a group, traditionally or historically held peerless social and legal privileges and advantage among the society in which they resided.
It’s important to state that, again, the definition of the term White and who ‘counts’ as White is in general is fuzzy and a social construct, and has changed throughout history or location (Nazis for example regarded Slavs as lesser, despite both being European and pale skinned). This is just the definition I believe best describes the term ‘White’, and is what I’ll be working with throughout the post. You’re welcome to disagree with this definition.
Claim C – In my opinion, most Jews aren’t White
Throughout the world, Jews have been subject to oppression, either formally through the law (limiting business, rights, et cetera), or informally through things like pogroms, lynches, et cetera. Show me a country in the world, and you will probably find that a jewish community resided there at one point in time, and quite likely faced oppression. Yes, any country. Even China:
Genghis Khan called both Jews and Muslims Huihui when he forbade Jews and Muslims from practicing kosher and halal preparation of their food, calling both of them “slaves” and forcing them to eat Mongol food, and banned them from practicing circumcision.
Gee, thanks Genghis.
Now, as said previously, the modern concept for White came to popularity largely in the context of unequal social status (in their favor) in the European colonies.
In Spain’s American colonies, African, Native American (indios), Jewish, or morisco ancestry formally excluded individuals from the “purity of blood” (limpieza de sangre) requirements for holding any public office under the Royal Pragmatic of 1501. Similar restrictions applied in the military, some religious orders, colleges, and universities, leading to a nearly all-white priesthood and professional stratum
In more recent history – I am a Lebanese-Syrian Jew from my mothers’ side, and Ashkenazi from my father’s side. When my mothers’ family fled from Syria to Lebanon, because their businesses were boycotted for being Jewish, and they received death threats, we weren’t regarded as White. When my family fled from Lebanon, we weren’t regarded as White. When my European side of the family was butchered in the holocaust, and my grandparents fled alone and penniless, we most certainly weren’t regarded as White.
If I go up to white supremacist organizations today, and tell them I’m Jewish, I’m most certainly not going to be treated as White.
So why the hell should a definition that is associated with societal caste privilege, one which hasn’t applied to me or others like me in the past two thousand years, suddenly define me? I sure as hell didn’t become a chameleon overnight. I feel like calling Jews “White” is simply ignoring the millennia of persecution, antisemitism, oppression, and bigotry.
Hence; I don’t identify as White, and find the concept of Jews instantly being regarded as not a minority population, and instead regarded as White, to be annoying and even insulting to what my family has gone through.
I’ve talked about this a few times before on reddit, but what led me to writing this entire post was this tweet by a famous wrestler, a tweet which I wholeheartedly agree with. If you’ve read this entire mini-rant, thanks.
What are your thoughts? Do you personally identify as White?
submitted by /u/xland44